SAR essential in connecting China to lusophone countries

The Macau SAR is essential in the links between China and Portuguese-speaking countries due to its history, the president of NGO China Observatory indicated.

“Macau, known to everyone in Portuguese speaking countries, is a privileged partner” of China with Portuguese-speaking countries, as a “business facilitator”, stressed Rui Lourido.

The head of the China Observatory highlighted the role of the Macao SAR within the scope of the Macau Forum – Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking African Countries (PALOP) -, a crucial organization in the strategy that links China to Lusophony through the initiative known as the “New Silk Road”.

At the III International Conference on Portugal-China Cooperation, which took place today in Lisbon, promoted by the Portugal-China Cooperation and Development Chamber and the China Observatory, Rui Lourido stressed that China is not a new presence in Africa, as it supported the decolonization movements, including in the former Portuguese colonies.

The official considered that China is one of the biggest commercial partners of Africa, having surpassed the United States of America in 2009, being also the main commercial partner of South Africa.

Rui Lourido explained that the country is not only interested in raw materials, but also in industry, services and infrastructure.

Chinese direct investment in the African industry increased by 9.9 per cent between 2020 and 2021.

According to Rui Lourido, 20 years after China joined the World Trade Organization, the country has contributed around 30 per cent to world growth.

“China has changed the structure of multilateral trade, as well as the direction of global trade flows. It increased the presence of emerging countries on the international economic scene and benefited millions of people around the world. It was beneficial to developed countries, including the United States of America”, stressed Lourido.

According to Chinese customs data, regarding the relationship between China and the PALOP, between January and August 2020, the main country with trade is Brazil, followed by Angola, Portugal, Mozambique, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe.

It was also stressed that Macau’s income comes from gambling, but this region defends the Portuguese heritage, having historic areas protected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

On the other hand, as the president of the League of Multi-secular Friendship Portugal-China, General Pinto Ramalho, pointed out, “Macau is not just tourism and leisure”, since “from an early age it was a commercial and intercultural outpost”.

The director of the School of Biotechnology at the Catholic University of Porto, Manuela Pintado, highlighted that there are Chinese investments in European Commission projects.

Portugal was once the fifth-largest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe, in the energy, insurance, health, finance, technology and infrastructure sectors.